This eggplant dip is adapted from the recipe of Tess Mallos, who died in 2012. She wrote the first cookbook I ever owned, and I still regularly make this recipe. She includes a small grated onion, but I find it too strong.

Eggplant dip (Melitzanosalata)
1 large or 2 medium oval eggplants to about 500 g (1 lb)
1 garlic clove, crushed with 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 slices bread, crusts removed.
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper

Place whole, unpeeled eggplant on a baking tray and cook in a moderate oven for 30–50 minutes, depending on size, until soft to the touch. While hot remove skin and chop flesh roughly.
Process bread into bread crumbs.
Remove the flesh from the eggplant and process with the breadcrumbs.
Add the other ingredients to the processor and pulse briefly. Don't overprocess as the olive oil becomes too bitter.
Place in a bowl and chill well. Mixture thickens when thoroughly chilled. Garnish with black olives and serve with crackers, toast fingers or crusty bread.

Buttermilk Pancakes adapted from Cooks Illustrated

2 cups self raising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Combine flour, sugar and salt in one bowl, and buttermilk, sour cream, eggs and melted butter in another.

Mix together gently until just combined – it should still be lumpy with streaks of flour. Overmixing will make the pancakes tough. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a 30cm nonstick frypan on medium heat. 
Spoon ¼ cup batter into pan and tilt to spread it around. Cook on the first side until the edges are set and bubbles form on the surface, about 2-3 minutes.

Use a spatula to flip the pancakes and cook for 1-2 minutes on the second side, or until golden brown and cooked through. 

Oven baked scrambled eggs

This one is great for a crowd. 12 eggs should feed 6-8, but the recipe doubles or triples easily.
Combine in a saucepan
                         1 doz large eggs
                         300 mls milk
                         Salt and pepper

Heat, stirring often, until just starting to set.

Fold through    6 - 12 rashers bacon, diced and fried
                        300 mls sour cream
Top with          grated cheese

Place into an oven proof dish and cover with foil. Refigerate overnight if desired.

Slice Roma tomatoes and place on an oven dish line with silicone paper. Add button mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sugar.

Bake eggs and vegetables at 150 for 1 hour.

Serve with toasted buttered toasted Turkish bread, rocket and avocado.


110g (2/3 cup) hazelnuts
80g (1/2 cup) sesame seeds
2 tbs coriander seeds
2 tbs cumin seeds
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp flaked sea salt (like Maldon brand)
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Spread the hazelnuts over a baking tray and cook in preheated oven for 3-4 minutes or until toasted. Rub the hazelnuts between a clean tea towel to remove as much skin as possible.
Place the toasted hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Add to the bowl with the hazelnuts.
Place coriander seeds and cumin seeds in frying pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic and seeds begin to pop. Transfer seeds to a mortar and pestle. Pound until finely crushed (alternatively, use a coffee or spice grinder). Add the crushed spices, pepper and salt to the hazelnut mixture and mix well.
Serve dukkah with some extra virgin olive oil and crusty bread.

Vienna Schnitzel with Austrian Fat Free Potato Salad

Vienna Schnitzel

I like to marinate the veal in lemon juice before coating with bread crumbs. This is not at all traditional, but to me it tastes delicious. Cook’s Illustrated suggests that you add oil to the egg to encourage the coating to puff up away from the meat. To me, low fat foods don't usually work, but this potato salad is delicious.

Juice from 1/2 lemon
½ teaspoon salt
4 slices veal tenderloin
9 slices white bread
½ cup plain flour
2 eggs
4 tablespoons butter, more if needed

1. Marinate veal with lemon juice and salt for 5-30 mins.
2. Remove crust from bread and cut into 1cm cubes. Place cubes plate and microwave on high for 7 minutes, turning occasionally to prevent burning.
3. Process  in food processor until very fine. In another plate add flour. In a third pie plate, mix the eggs with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Arrange plates left to right with flour, eggs, breadcrumbs and a on wire rack
4. Toss veal with flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. To keep things cleanish, use the left hand for the flour and dropping into eggs, then the right hand for removing from eggs and coating with breadcrumbs. Expect to make a bit of a mess, and clean it up when you’ve finished.
5. Leave on the wire rack for at least 5 mins to allow coating to set.
6. Divide and heat butter in 2 fry pans over medium high heat. When foam subsides add cutlets and cook 2 mins each side. As you turn them you may need to add more butter.
Serve immediately with Austrian potato salad.

Austrian Low Fat Potato Salad

serves 4

1kg potatoes, about 4, quartered lengthways and sliced into 1cm slices
1    cup chicken stock
1    cup water
1    tablespoon sugar
2    tablespoons white wine vinegar
1    tablespoon Dijon mustard
I     tablespoons capers
2    tablespoons minced fresh chives
Salt and pepper

1.   Simmer potatoes, stock, water, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar, and 1 tablespoon vinegar covered until soft, about 15 mins. Remove cover, increase heat to high and cook until water is reduced a little, about 2 mins more.
2.   Remove potatoes to a serving dish and measure out ½ cup of cooking liquid. Whisk remaining tablespoon vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper into cooking liquid.
3.   Add ½ cup cooked potatoes to the bowl with the cooking liquid mixture and mash until thick chunky sauce forms.
4.   Add remaining potatoes, capers, and chives, folding gently with a rubber spatula to combine. Don’t refrigerate, but serve within 4 hours.

Chicken with Honey, Cardamom and Rosewater

8 chicken thigh fillets
1 t cardamom
Salt to taste
2 tspn honey
1 Tbspn rosewater

Place 8 chicken thigh fillets into a baking dish.
Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cardamom and salt to taste
Drizzle with 2 teaspoons honey.
Cover and cook at 150 for 30 mins.
Drain stock from chicken into a saucepan. Boil it until it becomes syrupy.
Add 1 tablespoon rosewater
1 tablespoon butter.
Swirl together until the butter is melted, and pour over the chicken thighs. 

Salad Dressing - adapted from Neil Perry

This recipe is delicious and is worth doubling or even quadrupling!

2 coriander roots, washed and scraped
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons palm sugar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
120ml grapeseed oil (Neil Perry uses best-quality extra virgin olive oil)

Crush the coriander roots, garlic and salt to a fine paste with a mortar and pestle.
Place the palm sugar with a splash of water in a small saucepan over low heat and cook for 5 minutes or until it becomes syrupy.
Add the sherry vinegar, and cook for 2 minutes, allow to cool.
Add the red wine vinegar, coriander paste and whisk in the oil.
Taste and maybe add a little more salt.

Homemade Baileys Irish Cream

1 teaspoon instant coffee
2 teaspoons cocoa powder or 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon honey
400 mls whiskey 
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Using a stab blender, blend all ingredients.(Alternatively, combine coffee, cocoa and a little milk in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until thoroughly combined. Then whisk in other ingredients.)
Chill. It's best to leave this overnight to allow the flavours to meld, but if you can't wait, go ahead.

Whole Cauliflower

For me this dish ticks all the boxes. It's delicious, cheap, has stunning presentation and is healthy.


Microwave a whole cauliflower covered on high for about 5 minutes. Stand for a further 2 or 3 minutes.
Place in a heated serving dish and cover with pesto, either bottled or homemade.

Homemade Pesto

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry frypan for 4 to 5 minutes
  • 4 medium cloves of garlic, toasted in their skin for 7 minutes in the same frypan as the pinenuts 
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley
  • 100mls extra virgin olive oil, salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.

Pound Cake Adapted from Cook's Illustrated - Metric

I love Cook's Illustrated but can't understand why they don't publish metric measurements alongside imperial. Also, I prefer to weigh ingredients because it's so much easier.


500g butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200g self raising flour (CI use plain flour)
½ teaspoon table salt
250g sugar (1¼ cups)


 1.      Cut butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and place in bowl of standing mixer; let stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes to soften slightly (butter should reach no more than 15 degrees celcius).
2.      Using a fork, beat eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla in liquid measuring cup until combined. Let egg mixture stand at room temperature until ready to use.
3.      Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 160 degrees celcius.
4.      Generously butter 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust pan liberally with flour and knock out excess.
5.      In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and salt at medium-high speed until shiny, smooth, and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. 
6.      Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, gradually pour in sugar (this should take about 60 seconds).
7.      Once all sugar is added, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is fluffy and almost white in color, 5 to 8 minutes, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once.
8.      With mixer running at medium speed, gradually add egg mixture in slow, steady stream; this should take 60 to 90 seconds.
9.      Scrape bottom and sides of bowl; beat mixture at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes (mixture may look slightly broken). Remove bowl from mixer; scrape bottom and sides.
10.   In 3 additions, sift flour over butter/egg mixture; after each addition, fold gently with rubber spatula until combined. Scrape along bottom of bowl to ensure that batter is homogenous.
11.   Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan and smooth surface with rubber spatula.
12.   Bake until golden brown and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 70 to 80 minutes.
13.   Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes; invert cake onto wire rack, then turn cake right side up.
14.   Cool cake on rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Slice and serve.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffeecake

Thanks Naomi for this recipe. So delicious.

Butter Cake & Crumb Topping
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
125g butter, cold and cut into chunks
½ tsp bicarb soda
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup sour cream (full fat)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling
250g cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg

Strawberry Filling
1 ½ cup fresh strawberries, cut into pieces
3 tbsp sugar
3 tsp water
1.5 tsp cornflour

Preheat the oven to 175C. Line an 20cm round pan with removable bottom with non-stick baking paper.
Prepare the strawberry jam.
Combine the cornstarch and water to make a slurry in a bowl. Mix the strawberries and sugar in a pan. Cook over low heat until the strawberries release their juices about 5 minutes, then add the cornstarch mix and stir until well combined. Stir for another minute or two until it has thickened. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the cake.
Prepare the cream cheese filling.
Beat the cream cheese on medium speed for about 30 seconds until smooth. Add in the sugar and egg and beat until well combined.  Set aside.
Prepare the cake.
Combine the flour and sugar together in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or just 2 forks, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Measure ¾ cup of the mixture and set aside. Add the baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well.
In another bowl, beat the sour cream, egg and vanilla extract until well blended. Using a hand whisk or a spoon, stir gently into the flour mixture until just incorporated. Batter may be a bit lumpy. Set aside.
Spread the batter in the pan, with about ½ inch up the sides, also leaving a ½ inch border around the edges bare (like making a well). Pour the cream cheese mixture over the batter, being careful not to go beyond the border. Spread the strawberry jam on top of the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle the remaining ¾ cup crumbs over the strawberry filling. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing the cake.

Savory Breakfast Scones

Basic Mixture
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup lemonade
3/4 cup Greek yogurt 

1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 onion, fried
250g bacon, chopped and fried

Preheat oven to 200.
Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
Combine lemonade and yogurt in a large bowl.
Add cheese, onion and bacon to the wet ingredients.
Stir dry ingredients into wet, and mix lightly until it only just comes together. Don't overmix or the scones will be tough.
Shape into a circle about 2-3 cm high, like a thick pizza.
Bake at 200 for 30 mins, or until golden brown on top.
Cut into wedges like a pizza and serve. 

Instead of these flavourings you could try a combination using chorizo, ham, haloumi, fried mushrooms, cooked asparagus, wilted baby spinach, 1/2 can creamed corn, or herbs like basil or parsley.
Use soda water for a less sweet scone. Or another flavoured drink eg ginger beer or fanta.
Or you could make them sweet using dried, stewed or tinned fruit, nuts and spices.
Caution - don't use wet ingredients like tomatoes, or the juice from the tinned fruit.

Mediterranean Braised Green Beans with Mint and Feta Cheese

Recipe Photo
You can also use frozen green beans for this recipe, but adjust the cooking times. Still use the bi carb of soda because it softens the beans. 

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon bi carb soda
750g green beans, cut into 2 to 3-inch lengths
1 tablespoon tomato paste
450g can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Red wine vinegar
100g feta, crumbled (1/2 cup)

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275°F. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, allspice, and cayenne; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water, baking soda, and green beans and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes and their juice, salt, and pepper.
2. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook until sauce is slightly thickened and green beans can be easily cut with side of fork, 40 to 50 minutes. Stir in mint and season with vinegar to taste. Sprinkle with feta and serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

A dollop of yogurt spooned over the beans adds nice tang.

Why this recipe works:
In order to quickly create braised green beans that are ultra-tender but not mushy or blown out, we first cook them in baking soda and water, to partially dissolve the pectin in their cell walls and let water enter to soften their fibrous skins. We then add tomatoes to neutralize the soda and let them simmer gently in a low oven.

From Cook's Illustrated

Lemon Cream Chicken with Oven Baked Rice

Serves 4-6
This dish is easy to serve to a crowd. The recipe doubles or triples easily, but the time in the oven may need to be longer for both dishes.

Lemon Chicken

1kg chicken thighs or breasts
2-3 lemons
350 mls cream
Salt and pepper
Place chicken in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to slow simmer, and cook 5 mins. It needs to be slightly underdone. Remove chicken cool and dice into 1cm pieces.
Grate zest from lemons, then juice.
Combine diced chicken, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper in an ovenproof dish. Add cream. Stir to combine. Cover and reheat in oven at 150 for 15 mins, or until hot.
Serve over rice.

Oven baked rice

2 cups basmati rice
4 cups water
2 tbs butter
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 150.
Boil water.
Add butter, salt and rice. Reboil and stir. Place in a covered dish in oven.
Cook 25-30 mins. Fluff up before serving.

Pork Spareribs in sticky garam masala

Combine in a pot large enough for the ribs to lay in one layer

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons garam marsala
100 mls water
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Simmer a minute or two to combine then add
1kg pork spare ribs

Cover and cook over medium heat appx 30 mins.

Remove ribs from liquid and turn heat to high.
Evaporate water until the sauce is nice and sticky,
but not burned.
Return ribs to pot and reheat.

Cranberry Sauce

500g fresh cranberries, washed and dried
500g granulated sugar
2 tablespoons port
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 orange, zested and juiced

In a medium pot, combine all ingredients and simmer with lid off for 10 mins.
Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole.
Allow to cool before serving.

Spiced Nutrigrain

Heat together until fragrant, either in a saucepan or microwave
1/3c oil
2 tablespoons garam masala
4 shakes tabasco
2 ½ teaspoons salt
Combine with
300g Nutrigrain